Venezuela’s Fall into the Abyss
Venezuela is rapidly collapsing and although Washington has a lot to do with such collapse, it would be a big mistake to blame the country’s fall only on foreign intervention.
The opposition majority in the Venezuela Parliament rejected the state of emergency declared by the president, which could raise tension at a time when the shortage of basic food and services becomes even more difficult.
Venezuelan opposition alliance Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) delivered on Wednesday a request that asks that the process for a referendum on the Maduro administration be accelerated, as the group seeks to revoke his mandate.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, a police cordon prevented protesters to access the National Electoral Council (CNE).
Police blocked all roads to the center of Caracas, starting at Venezuela Square in the east of the city to contain the mobilization of several hundred people who were led by opposition leader Henrique Capriles and the head of the National Assembly, Henry Ramos Allup, and a group of deputies.
Although the march barely moved when it drifted toward the central Avenida Libertador, the leaders delivered a document request to the CNE rector Luis Emilio Rondón, who traveled to the site of the demonstration.
“We received the request and will present it for consideration at the CNE,” Rondon told reporters.
With the delivery of the request, the opposition began to dissolve the march, but a group of demonstrators sought other ways to advance and police prevented the mobilization by firing tear gas.
The letter handed over to the authorities requires “respect for the Constitution” regarding the right of citizens to request the recall of Maduro, which, in the opinion of the opposition, Maduro and his cohorts are trying to prevent.
They also call for “compliance with regulations” regarding the speed of compliance with the terms established regarding the request for a referendum.
The march could not advance to the headquarters of the CNE, about six kilometers west of where it began, as a police cordon prevented the passage of the demonstrators.
Those who tried to cross the police cordon were stopped by armed police in riot gear.
By delivering the document to Rondon, the only one of the five directors of the Electoral Power that has supported the claims of opponents, Capriles insisted that “the people want to validate their signatures to continue with the recall procedure”.
After delivering the letter, Capriles called for an end to the mobilization: “We are not mobilizing to fight someone (…) we are mobilizing to defend the rights of Venezuelans,” he said.
La opposition alliance Democratic Unity (MUD) has reiterated that it is possible to set up the referendum to revoke the mandate of Maduro this year, contrary to statements by the spokespersons of the government and the ruling party, who have pointed out that there is no environment to do so..
Failing to carry out the referendum this year, with the constitutional possibility that a new president be elected would be a loss and, if revoked, Maduro would cede the post to his second in command.
Among the privileges that the Executive was awarded the decree that circulated on Tuesday, are budget control, the possibility of intervening companies and private property in order to guarantee the supply and the suspension of sanctions against senior government officials. All of these are typical of regimes that have no support and who resort to force against their people to stay in control.
Maduro may also give “extraordinary” powers to the authorities to ensure even through the intervention of the armed forces- the distribution of basic necessities. There is, for some reason, a popular belief that government, no matter how corrupt, can do a better job at helping people as the people themselves could do.
Venezuela’s revenues plunged in the last year by the collapse of oil prices -the motor of its economy, and to a lesser degree the phenomenon of El Niño, that caused droughts that have affected the level of key reservoirs to generate electricity.
The question here is, having known that El Niño was coming, why didn’t the Venezuelan government prepare for it? The answer is, because corrupt governments thrive better in times of crisis, when it suddenly alleges it can become the solution to everything.
In reality, though, it is quite the opposite. Venezuela was unprepared to face drops in oil prices and natural phenomena even though the government had enough time to provide solutions for these two issues.
In recent weeks, people have had to stand in line much longer than usual to get subsidized basic goods and looting has escalated in the country. Maduro, 53, said Venezuela will not recover from the current economic crisis this year, and 2017 does not look good either.
In fact, things are just going to get worse. People are already killing each other on the street for as little as $5.